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Detective Daryl Chandler has a gift even she finds hard to explain. She has the uncanny ability to find missing children. When cases begun to surface of children being stolen from their mothers, Daryl is convinced that they are being given to well-off adoptive lesbian couples and she enlists the help of an old friend in the Deviant Data Unit in New York. The old friend partners her with Agent Blythe Kent to try to crack the case. Together Daryl and Blythe move into the affluent community populated by same-sex couples under the guise that they are a loving couple seeking to adopt a child to complete their family.
As Blythe and Daryl settle into a new home and homemaking together, each woman finds that she has to act the part less and less as feelings blossom and the two are falling into their roles more and more—and wishing the roles they are playing were real. The relationship, though, goes in fits and starts because of concern about compromising the undercover operation.
Daryl is given to prowling the neighborhood under the pretense of jogging a different route every day in order to try to identify stolen children. Between their search and cozying up to the neighbors to try to figure out who’s responsible for passing stolen little ones to lesbian couples, the two find the slow pace of the investigation frustrating—or perhaps it’s their inability to act on their feelings for one another that colors their impatience. The couples they meet only seem to have the kids’ best interest at heart, but distraught birth mothers want their offspring back, so Daryl and Blythe each experience a taste of the emotional upheaval adoptive couples must go through, while looking for the agency involved in taking babies from mothers who have no intention of giving them up.
Blythe’s friend, Deviant Data Unit Detective Rafe Douglas, and Rafe’s life-partner, Private Detective Ashley Scott, are drawn into the case when Ashley, who has a history with the paranormal, realize there is more to the case then meets the eye. When Blythe meets with Rafe and she reveals their part in the case, Rafe and Ashley open Blythe’s eyes to a whole different dimension in the baby stealing case—and for a while, Blythe is forced to keep their secrets from Daryl.
However, once Daryl is brought in on the information and as the quartet gets closer to the source of the kidnappings, the action unfolds as a epic battle between good and evil and the case is quickly brought to a close under extraordinary circumstances.
The characters in this story are honest and, although a little out of the ordinary, they are endearing. By the end of the story, Daryl understands herself and her abilities better and the blossoming relationship between Daryl and Blythe gives the story an added dimension that rounds out the unfolding mystery well. However, a couple of questions are left unanswered. For instance, motivation for placing the children with lesbians in particular is never really made clear. What is clear is the battle of good and evil, which is well presented with representatives from realms above and below, helping or hindering in a fascinating second offering in the Wings series by Lesley Davis.
The players from the first book are skillfully introduced and key background events from the first book, Dark Wings Descending, is supplied with just enough detail to make sense of who the characters are and how they have interacted in the supernatural realm.
Pale Wings Protecting is a provocative paranormal mystery; it’s an otherworldly thriller couched inside a tale of budding romance. The novel contains an absorbing narrative, full of thrilling revelations, that skillfully leads the reader into the uncanny dimensions of the supernatural.
Pale Wings Protecting
By Lesley Davis
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602829640, 280 pp.